JBS meat plant dealing with new COVID outbreak as union criticizes Weld County leaders

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GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) — The JBS meat processing plant in Greeley is dealing with another Covid-19 outbreak.

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment reports 32 active Covid cases at the plant. An additional 38 staff members also tested positive at corporate headquarters in recent weeks.

The outbreak comes as the state health department moves Weld County to level red on the state’s Covid dial. However, Weld County’s Board of Commissioners recently announced the county would not be enforcing new state imposed restrictions.

That has prompted the union representing meat processing workers, UFCW Local 7, to call out Weld County leaders for what they say is a failure to protect essential workers.

UFCW Local 7 represents more than 27,000 workers in healthcare, meatpacking, and grocery in Colorado and Wyoming. Most are considered essential workers.

“Of the 20 red counties in Colorado, Weld County stands out as the only one not willing to adhere to state guidelines,” said Kyle Welsh, a representative of UFCW Local 7.

In a press release, the union called Weld County’s decision “dangerous, irresponsible, and shameful, especially when there are very few hospital beds available.”

“They need to set aside the politics of it and do what’s right for the people,” Welsh explained.

San Twin is also upset with Weld County’s decision.

“That made me really mad,” she said.

Twin’s mother worked at the JBS plant and passed away from Covid last spring.

“I miss my mom a lot. She’s pretty sweet. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it reminds me of my mom so much. She would cook a lot of turkey and invite her friends to come over to our house,” she said.

San Twin gave birth to her son Felix right around the same time her mother passed away. Her mom never got to meet her grandson.

FOX31 did reach out to several Weld County Commissioners to get their reaction to the statement put out by UFCW Local 7, but we did not receive a response.

JBS also experienced a large Covid-19 outbreak last spring. Close to 300 employees became ill and 6 workers passed away from the virus.

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